As a Pagan, I do not believe in an external force of ‘evil’ in the universe. Rather I subscribe to the view of Mahatma Gandhi:
The only devils in this world are those running around inside our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought.
Evil is human-made, a result of fear, ignorance, anger and frustration. When such pressures build up, it is easy to fantasise that there is some simplistic solution. The maiming and destruction of our enemies, the inquisition, ethnic cleansing, wars of religion – all feed off the same delusion – that there is a good, pure, right ideology that will make the world a better place. If people will not subscribe to it voluntarily, then they are evil and must be destroyed. Once we have labelled a group as ‘other’, the enemy, we can persuade ourselves that in order to protect what we think precious and right any action is justifiable.